By the spring of 1945, the truth had gradually dawned on Adolf Hitler and he realized that the party he'd thrown around the globe was finally over. Word spread among the German High Command that Adolf had chosen to remain in Berlin, where he would face certain death, spending his last days preparing for his wedding/suicide (not the first man to consider the two events to go hand in hand).  (Forget I said that). This technically made Hitler 'incapacitated to govern' as the Nazi constitution called it, which meant that Hitler's successor was now up to bat. Second in command was fat, art-collecting, morphine-addicted Hermann Goering, who was hiding out in one of his castles, understandably not all that eager for the gig. But he had no choice--he was afraid that if he didn't, his rival, Martin Boormann, would seize power and execute him. Additionally, if he refused the post he'd be accused of treason and probably shot immediately. (This is known in business as a lose-lose). In a carefully worded telegram to the boss, Hermann accepted the post, assuming that Hitler's decision had "incapacitated himself from governing." But Bormann intercepted the telegram and used it to convince the now-more-crackers-than-ever Hitler that Goering had all along been planning a takeover. Hitler "fired" Goering and Bormann made an announcement that Goering was stepping down due to health reasons. If there has ever been a huger case of denial than these machinations at the final moments of the Nazi regime, I've never heard of it. (Though perhaps Cosby's continued comedy tours at venues where he's jeered as a rapist might qualify). (Forget I said that).  Relieved, Goering sat out the inevitable in his castle. When his castle came under attack by the Allies, Goering fled. Hitler and Eva Braun (briefly Eva Braun-Hitler--very briefly) committed joint suicide on April 30 1945. Goering made his way to the American lines, eager to surrender himself to them instead of the Russians, who would also have executed him. This guy did not want to be shot.

The above piece of film is Hermann on his first day of arrest, chatting pleasantly with his American captors. What are they talking about? Who were these young GI's and what did they say about this stunning event in the years that followed? Why was there a camera there? Why was his commandant uniform powder blue? Why do they allow Hermann to walk menacingly right up to the camera lens? We'll never know. Shortly after he does, though, the fat man turns and walks away with his American captor, cane in hand as if out for a springtime stroll. Indeed, he seems to be in charge of the American and giving him something of a tour--he has none of the captives demeanor. Goering was convicted for crimes against humanity a year or so later and finally faced an execution he could not escape. But he did! He committed suicide the night before, taking a cyanide tablet that nobody could ever figure how he'd gotten his hands on. By doing this, one could say that Hermann Goering snatched victory from the hands of defeat. In business this is called a win-win.

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